Mr Darwin’s Gardener

by Kristina Carlson


A postmodern Victorian novel about faith, knowledge and our inner needs. Longlisted for the International Impac Dublin Literary Award 2015. Observer Best Holiday Reads 2013.

The late 1870s, the Kentish village of Downe. The villagers gather in church one rainy Sunday. Only Thomas Davies stays away. The eccentric loner, father of two and a grief-stricken widower, works as a gardener for the notorious naturalist Charles Darwin. He shuns religion. But now Thomas needs answers. What should he believe in? And why should he continue to live?

Translated from the Finnish by Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah.

112pp, paperback with flaps, £12.00
ISBN 978-1-908670-09-0
Publication date: 25 September 2013

Press & Reviews

'It's hard to believe this novel originated in another country. But it did, and the way Carlson shows us to ourselves should make us wonder.' - Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

'An imaginative series of insights into the outer and inner lives of the inhabitants of the village of Downe in Kent in the 1870's.' - Rosemary Ashton, Times Literary Supplement

'The translation is terrific and the author's grasp of England circa 1880 is utterly convincing.' - Salley Vickers, Observer

'Allow layers of meaning to emerge after you finish reading, and you may be rewarded.' - Harriet Paterson, The Tablet

'Rich, short, text, well-pitched and nuanced, short but wide. It may not have length, but its literary girth is undeniable. A beautiful, charming little book.' - The Triumph of the Now

About The Book


Kristina Carlson, born in 1949, has published 16 books in her native Finland. She is a highly popular children's author and her three novels have assured her a wide adult readership and huge critical acclaim. She has won The Finlandia Prize and Finland's State Prize for Literature.


Emily Jeremiah and Fleur Jeremiah form a multilingual mother-and-daughter translation team. Emily has an MA in Creative Writing and a PhD in German Studies. Fleur, her mother, is Finnish and has translated both fiction and non-fiction for many years. Emily and Fleur have co-translated work by numerous Finnish poets and novelists. They have translated three Peirene books: Peirene no. 7, The Brothers by Asko Sahlberg; Peirene no. 11, Mr Darwin’s Gardener by Kristina Carlson; and Peirene no. 16, White Hunger by Aki Ollikainen.